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Kelly Gallagher: Bangor gold medal winning Paralympic skier tells her favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 29-year-old from Bangor is a gold medal winning Paralympic skier, and has just been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award.

My best moment

The gold medal at the Sochi Paralympics this year was a really special moment but a couple of years before that my guide Charlotte Evans and I won gold at the World Championships, which was incredible for us and it started the whole thing off. It was the first time I believed that my dreams would come true and from that point we started winning more and more. It was like a breakthrough for me.

My best song

Before races we would listen to music and whatever song I had listened to last would be in my head during the race. At Sochi, it was Rather Be by Clean Bandit, which is a really upbeat, happy song. They’re using it in an advert on the TV at the moment so I’m hearing it all the time. I’m in to all kinds of music, though — rap and R&B in the gym, and I love pop and country music because my mum listens to them.

My best buy

I love clothes and shoes — especially if I get a good bargain — but the best thing I bought recently has been a spin bike (right). My house used to be full of musical instruments — a saxophone, piano and clarinet. Now it’s slowly turning into a gym, with physio equipment and stuff that allows me to roll out of bed and just start training. The funny thing is that everyone that comes into my house wants to have a wee spin on it.

My best way to relax

I’m very active even when I relax after training. This year I took a holiday for the whole month of August. I went to Indonesia and surfed and did yoga, then in the afternoon I would do a free-diving course, as the yoga had better prepared my lungs for it. My family and friends always joke that I’m always either glammed up, in tracksuit bottoms or in my pyjamas.

My best job

Being an athlete is my best job but I’m currently on a career break from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency — I’m a big maths geek. I’ve always worked, though, and to get money for skiing I always had jobs in pubs or supermarkets.

My best gift

My mum is forever sewing charms and miraculous medals into my skiing gear so I find little medals attached to my leggings or thermals. Sometimes I know they’re there and sometimes I just find them.

My best advice

My dad passed away in 2012 but he always gave the best advice. Mum would buy a birthday card and sign it then dad would always write a little message at the end. The nicest one he ever sent me was to “always look at what you have instead of what you haven’t”.

Charlotte and I also have a motto of “thinking less and living more”, which is something we stick to when we make decisions together.

My best achievements

I have a degree in maths from the University of Bath. At school maths was good because the teachers were very involved in getting you the best mark that they could. At university it was so hard because you were left to get on with it yourself. It was difficult but the older I get the more proud I am of having done it.

Best film

I went to see The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch last week and I loved that. When I was younger, though, I had an obsession with a video I had of a movie called Big Business. It starred Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin (right) as twins who were separated at birth. I used to know every word of the film off by heart.

Best book

I listen to podcasts a lot and when we’re on tour everyone shares books around. I love books about other cultures, one of which was City of Thieves by David Benioff. Another that I love is Wild Swans by Jung Chang

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